On Heavenly News and Near Misses

Now, I have nothing against folks who follow the Christian faith tradition known as Jehovah's Witnesses, but I have to admit I am less than excited to see their members going door-to-door in my neighborhood. I am not the kind of person who pulls the drapes and hides when unexpected visitors show up, and I feel an obligation to at least answer the door and tell them "no thanks." This usually means an extended conversation with people who I doubt will succeed in changing my fairly entrenched views of God.

That, plus my dogs bark like pagan fools at the sight of well-dressed proselytizers with pamphlets.

Thus I was glad to see the latest edition of The Watchtower on my front porch, as this meant that I dodged (at least for today) the efforts of local Jehovah's Witnesses to convert me. I figured that in return I ought to at least peruse the magazine the Witnesses left for me.

I learned that - according to The Watchtower - Christians are no longer obligated to keep the Sabbath, that true Christians are politically neutral, and that true Christians do not participate in wars. I also learned that Jehovah's Witnesses have little use for the Holy Trinity, that only 144,000 true believers will go to Heaven, and that John the Baptist is not among those who will be in Heaven.

I also learned via a color illustration that Heaven looks kind of like an African safari, with smiling people paddling canoes among pink flamingos, grazing zebras, and sleepy lions that seem not to notice the bountiful prey around them. Hey - I like this vision of Heaven a lot better than some of the fire-and-brimstone visions of the afterlife some sects push.

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